Of all the organizations I’ve been a part of over the years, PMA manages its operations and programs as well as or better than any. Here’s how PMA works.
The day-to-day office operations and program management tasks are handled, as they have been throughout our history, by Jan Nathan Associates. The nine people under Jan’s direction do a great job for us. If you’ve ever called the PMA offices, you know that they are knowledgeable and they go out of their way to be helpful. We are fortunate.
The development of new programs and policy supervision of the organization is managed by your Board of Directors, which meets formally four times each year and via e-mail and telephone as needed. The Board has 14 members, elected by the membership, who each serve two-year terms (with the option to serve one additional two-year term). The Board’s mix of small and mid-sized publishers from various geographic regions, as well as vendor members from other areas of publishing, insures that it represents a wide variety of perspectives. After each of the quarterly meetings, I’ll use this column to give you an update of activities and ideas being considered.
The new 20th Board held its formation meeting at the end of July. We spent about half of our time looking at the current status of the various PMA programs and activities. The other half we spent brainstorming and planning additional ways in which PMA might serve you better in the future. Here are the highlights.
Good News & New Moves
1. The organization is in superb financial health. Despite last year’s concern that publishers would not travel to New York for BEA as well as the additional expense of being in New York City, we had a superb PMA-U and BEA Convention. Almost all programs operated in the black. PMA is financially sound.
2. It appears likely that Reed Exhibitions (the BEA convention organizer) will join efforts to support and promote PMA-U for next year’s convention in Los Angeles. We expect a record attendance and even better seminars!
3. Entries for the Ben Franklin Awards are already arriving at the PMA office. This award continues to gain recognition in the industry.
4. A seminar/retreat for our mid-sized, experienced publishers is in the planning stages and will be held in January 2003.
5. The direct-mail marketing programs, rights sales, and conference representations programs are functioning well and growing.
6. We spent a good deal of energy outlining possible PMA Literacy Support Projects. In the coming year, the Board hopes to offer you some way of collectively using our returned books in a national literacy effort that will have a large impact. Goodness knows our 3,600 members have the books available. What about coordinating a project to get a million free books each year into the hands of people of all ages who cannot afford to purchase their own? Yes, independent publishers do have clout and can make a difference. More to come on this in the next months.
7. We are challenged to develop additional programs that will benefit our more experienced publishers who have fulfilled their original needs. The Board is asking the group of 10 former PMA Presidents–under the direction of Linda Ligon, immediate Past President–to tackle this issue for us and deliver recommendations in time for our February 2003 meeting.
8. The Board also assigned subcommittee work groups to focus on PMA membership participation and industry issues that matter to our members. Each work group will make recommendations for action at the next Board meeting.
9. In future months, we will take a focused look at other issues, including: the PMA publishing program, developing alternative markets, new format regional educational seminars, enhancing strategic connections with other industry forces, and plans for our 20th anniversary celebration at BEA 2003, along with other issues that emerge.
We are always glad to hear from you. Please send your reactions, thoughts, and ideas to me or any other member of the Board.